Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Christian Chavira throws a pitch in relief during Wednesday’s comeback victory over Edison. Chavira tossed seven innings of one run ball. He allowed five hits and struck out eight batters to keep the Coyotes in the game.
The Madera Coyotes spotted the Edison-Fresno Tigers five runs in the first inning, but came all the way back to tie the game in the seventh and win it in the ninth at Mel Parker Field.
The Tigers sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning. However, Christian Chavira tossed seven innings of one run ball. He allowed five hits with four walks, but struck out eight batters.
“I think that started yesterday at practice,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “We played flat after going 4-0 in the tournament and had some time off. Obviously, we didn’t come out with the intensity to win the game. We gave them five runs. That’s tough for anybody to come back from. Give Edison credit. They played very, very well. They played more like a 10-3 team than a 3-10 team. They didn’t make any mistakes. They didn’t give us anything.”
Brian Hefner got the win in relief after Nikayha Castro and Brixton Gomes pitched the first inning. Castro got the start. He walked two batters and hit another before he was pulled. Brixton Gomes came in and allowed four hits with a hit batter to stake Edison a 5-0 lead.
“He’s had starts like that,” Underwood said. “It’s a pattern that we’ve seen and we saw it early. We wanted to get out early. We have enough pitching on this team. We have a lot of confidence and faith for the next guy up. Everyone is on a short leash. Nikayha’s breaking ball wasn’t there in the bullpen. It wasn’t there for him tonight. It was a tough night.”
However, Chavira came in and settled the Tigers. Although he allowed a base runner in every inning, including leaving the base loaded in the fifth, he only allowed a run to score — on a bases loaded walk — to give the Coyotes a chance at a come back.
“He was awesome,” Underwood said of his relief pitcher. “He threw a shutout last week. We talked about him in the mix. He established himself as a guy in the mix. He’s been lights out.”
The Coyotes started to chip into the lead in the second inning. Isaac Chavira and Tommy Molina drew back-to-back walks to open the inning. After a pop out, Jerry Hernandez singled to center to load the bases.
Christian Chavira singled to left to drive in Chavira and Shane Purcell reached on a fielder’s choice to drive in Molina for a 5-2 Edison lead.
The Coyotes added another run in the fourth. With one out, Hernandez doubled to left-center. He tried to stretch it into a triple and looked to be thrown out. However, the third baseman missed the tag on a sprawling Hernandez and Hernandez was safe.
Chavira followed with a fly ball to left to drive in Chavira for a 5-3 deficit.
Madera answered Edison’s run in the fifth with a run in the sixth. With one out, Hernandez was hit by a pitch. Chavira doubled to left-center and Hernandez scored from first for a 6-4 Edison lead.
The Coyotes completed the comeback in the seventh inning. Kristian Gomez hit the third pitch of the inning over the left field fence for a solo home run and cut the lead to one.
After a strikeout, Tommy Molina drew a walk. Nick Aguilar reached on an infield single to put runners at first and second. Hernandez was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Chavira flew out to right-center field to drive in pinch-runner Isaiah Monge with the game-tying score. A strikeout ended the inning.
Hefner worked out of trouble in the ninth inning. Edison put runners at second and third with one out. Hefner got a strikeout and a groundout to get out of trouble.
Molina led off the ninth inning by reaching on a throwing error on a grounder to short. Aguilar sacrificed pinch-runner Caleb Galindo to second.
On an 0-2 pitch, Hernandez hit a fly ball over the center fielder’s head. Galindo came around to score the game-winning run while Hernandez rounded second to celebrate with his team.
The comeback victory improved the Coyotes to 3-1 in the County/Metro Athletic Conference with a Friday game with Madera South looming.
“It’s huge to go 3-1,” Underwood said. “As far as us taking care of home-field advantage and beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, you can’t go 2-3 or 3-2 in the first round of league.”